Syria Protest 311.
(photo credit: Youtube)
DERAA, Syria - Thousands of mourners called on Saturday for "revolution" at the funeral of protesters killed by Syrian security forces, the boldest challenge to Syria's rulers since uprisings began sweeping the Arab world.
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Security forces responded by firing tear gas to disperse crowds in Deraa, a tribal region south of the capital where at least 10,000 people demonstrated on Saturday at the funeral of two protesters, among at least four who were killed on Friday.
"Revolution, revolution. Rise up Hauran," chanted the mourners in Deraa,
administrative capital of the strategic Hauran plateau, as they marched
behind simple wood coffins of Wissam Ayyash and Mahmoud al-Jawabra.
"God, Syria, Freedom. Whoever kills his own people is a traitor," they
said. Some of the mourners exited a mosque and headed for the center to
The two were killed when security forces opened fire on Friday on
civilians taking part in a peaceful protest demanding political freedoms
and an end to corruption in Syria, which has been ruled under emergency
laws by President Bashar al-Assad's Baath Party for nearly half a
A third man who was killed on Friday, Ayhem al-Hariri, was buried in a
village near Deraa earlier on Saturday. A fourth protester, Adnan Akrad,
died on Saturday from his wounds.
Secret police at the main funeral in Deraa arrested at least one
mourner, activists said. Security was heavy in the city, especially
around police stations.Arrests of children fuel resentment
Protests against Syria's ruling elite, inspired by revolts in the Arab
world, have gathered momentum this week after a silent protest in
Damascus by 150 people demanding the release of thousands of political
At least one activist from Deraa, Diana al-Jawabra, took part in the
protest. She was arrested and is facing charges of weakening national
morale, along with 32 protesters in jail, a lawyer said.
Jawabra was campaigning for the release of 15 schoolchildren in who were
arrested in Deraa this month after writing slogans on walls inspired by
revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia that swept their autocratic leaders
Residents say the children's arrests in the tribal region deepened
feelings of repression and helped fuel the protests in Deraa, the
biggest threat yet to the authority of Assad.
Assad said in an interview in January that Syria's leadership was "very
closely linked to the beliefs of the people" and there was no mass
"The leadership have given a clear signal that they are not in any hurry
to embark on fundamental political reform," one diplomat in the Syrian
Deraa is home to thousands of displaced people from eastern Syria, where
up to 1 million people have left their homes because of a water crisis
over the past six years. Experts say state mismanagement of resources
has worsened the crisis.
The Hauran region, once a Middle East bread basket, has also been
affected by diminishing water levels, with yields per hectare falling by
a quarter in Deraa last year.